Watching an episode of Great Teacher Onizuka last night I was moved to the point of tears. My reaction surprised me; it is after all, only an animated cartoon, albeit a truly great one. The star of the story is GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka), a lecherous but lovable ex-bike gang member who decides to become a junior high school teacher.
Right from the opening skirt scene on the escalator, the story dives deep into the dangerous waters of gender politics. But if not always comfortable watching, the story at least feels honest and authentic. Yes, Onizuka is selfish and seedy, but he is also caring and courageous. He ultimately brings backs some respectability to perverts.
What I like best are the glimpses into the lives of the characters: the bullies and the bullied; the geeks and the freaks, the leaders and their followers, the lost souls and of course, Onizuka himself dressed in a monkey suit with his middle finger raised to the head of the PTA. They all light up the otherwise deathly dull school.